About Scottish Sinfonia
Sinfonia was founded in 1970 by Neil Mantle and has to date performed over two hundred concerts. It has a basic playing strength of ninety, augmented or diminished as required.
The orchestra is a highly successful mixture of professional players, instrumental teachers and amateurs with an age range of seventeen to seventy, all united in one common aim: to make music to the highest standard of which they are capable.
Sinfonia has been fortunate to have the services of a professional leader, Michael Rigg, who has guided the violins with distinction for over thirty years.
Although the orchestra has a wide range of repertoire, it has become especially noted for its Mahler performances which were for many years a central feature of Fringe Music at the Edinburgh Festival. These concerts always attract acclaim from both audiences and critics alike.
In the course of its forty year history there have been many highlights, but Sinfonia is especially proud to be able to claim the first performance in Scotland - nearly seventy years after its composition - of Strauss's mighty Alpine Symphony. More recently, they were the first non-professional orchestra to programme the "new" Elgar/Payne Third Symphony.
The orchestra's complete Mahler series has now been released on Compact Disc. The success of these live recordings does much to spread Sinfonia's name beyond the U.K.
Since 2011, the orchestra's home has been at St Cuthbert's Parish Church. Unique amongst British orchestras, Sinfonia enjoys the inestimable benefit of not only giving concerts in the same venue but also scheduling all rehearsals there. Thus, there are no sudden and disconcerting adjustments of balance to be made in a sudden change of acoustic between venues.
In October 2012, the orchestra took part in a performance of Elgar's "Dream of Gerontius" in Glasgow University's beautiful Bute Hall. Scottish Sinfonia was joined by massed choirs from Bearsden and Glasgow University for this charity performance in celebration of the life and work of Archbishop Emeritus Mario Conti.
In June 2008, conductor Neil Mantle was awarded the honour of MBE for services to Music in Scotland.